In the lecture, Gilbert presented some examples from the photographic series: “From Wash Day at Pa”, 1964, by Ann Westra.

The concerns surrounding Westra’s previous photographic series were displayed by the maori women’s welfare league, whom labeled the photographs as “inaccurate, atypical and unhelpful” (Tepapa). As discussed in a text published by Te Papa on the series controversy (Cite), the photographs possessed the power to “reinforce Pakeha stereotypes of Maori as poor, rural, and happily primitive”. The Maori Women’s Welfare League also raised concerns surrounding the possible effect photographs have on influencing the attitudes of young children whom would carry the disadvantaged image of Maori children into their school lives (cite).

When Westra, again, released a selection of photographs taken in the home of a rural Maori family, criticism ignited once more. “Wash day at Pa” was identified as an inaccurate portrayal of Maori housing at the time, a purposeful focus on conditions of poverty in housing that were actually rapidly improving for Maori. Westra’s work also indicated the little power Maori were given in the way they were depicted by an outside audience such as Pakeha artists and photographers, thus resulting in visual images being made that alligned with the Pakeha stereotyping of Maori.

Reflective in the visual images included in Gilbert’s lecture, It was the belief of many Pakeha that Maori poverty was down to choice by the individual, rather than being a result of a greater force of power such as the governments ability to provide better living conditions for the population. Placing Maori in the rural locations of New Zealand when there was an exceeding number of Maori migrating to cities, can be seen as a possible reflection of the positioning of ,and attitudes towards, Maori in New Zealand’s social class system. At a deeper level of examination, these photographs mark Maori as undeserving of living in cities, they only deserve to be poor and in places that reflect poor through the lack of social inclusion in their rural isolation.


1945-1990s Aoteroa Time Line:


  • N.Z signs U.N Charter
  • Maori social and economic advanc. Act signed
  • Universal benefit = 1 british pound
  • NZers become “British subjects and New Zealand citizens”
  • British nationality and Nz citizenship act 1948 passed


  • Maori Women’s Welfare League established
  • Population 2 million
  • PAYE Tax introduced
  • Black Budget


  • Service equal pay act passed
  • Western Samoa is independant
  • Nz Maori council established
  • Auckland population reaches 1/2 a million
  • Cook Islands becomes self governed
  • Auckland International Airport
  • Labour force reaches 1 Million
  • 20 year olds given the right to vote


  • Nga Tamatoa protest at Waitangi
  • Equal pay act
  • Population reaches 3 million
  • Waitangi tribunal established
  • New Zealand day replaced with Waitangi Day
  • Overstayers deported
  • Superanuation introduced
  • 25000 are unemployed


  • Springbok tour
  • Rainbow warrior sunk and Green peace protests
  • Waitangi tribunal hear grievance for 1840
  • 100,000 are unemployed




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: